Climate Change/Water Insecurity and Migration in the Middle East and North Africa

This is an ongoing project.

Faculty Researcher: Patricia McCormick

Contact Details

Patricia K McCormick


Illegal international migration is a complex problem. While securing borders is deemed paramount to national security by the governments of many nations, migration is simultaneously a humanitarian issue. War and violent conflict, economic dislocation and increasingly climate change contribute to driving the displacement and migration of people from their homelands. This research project examines the ways in which water scarcity affects human migration in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It assesses the impact of the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia on water availability in the states of Sudan and Egypt as well as desalination efforts in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The research also considers the use of low orbit satellites and drones in monitoring both climate change and human migration.


This is a qualitative, interdisciplinary research project which employs the case study, drawing upon various documentation sources, including climate change policy and legal documents from governments in both the Horn of Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), archival records, and other references. In relation to using space assets for climate monitoring, information needs to be gathered from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and other space agencies. Therefore, I am seeking students who want to engage in both database research and contacting international organizations for information and interviews.

Project Timeline

This specific project is part of a long term research agenda that addresses the impact of climate change on human migration in the MENA region. Students are welcome to apply at any time and incorporate research concerned with racism and the rise of ethno-nationalism, state security, and economic dislocation as related to human migration.


Database research using the WSU libraries, contacting various international organizations to secure documents and interviews.

Project-related Tags

Last Updated

August 20, 2023